Scarlets coach pays tribute to forward power in win over Ulster
SCARLETS forwards coach Danny Wilson heaped praise on the performance of stand-in skipper Phil John and his pack following the region's impressive 17-9 RaboDirect Pro12 victory over Ulster at Parc y Scarlets.
The West Walians claimed a much-needed league triumph and only their second home win of the season thanks to an outstanding effort up front, led by evergreen prop John.
Tongan No. 8 Sione Timani produced a man-of-the-match display, while the likes of flanker Josh Turnbull and young tight-head prop Samson Lee also stood out.
The Scarlets led 11-3 at half-time thanks to a line-out catch and drive finished off by replacement flanker John Barclay.
And despite Ulster threatening a second-half comeback through the boot of Springbok Ruan Pienaar, a couple of penalties by another replacement, Aled Thomas, saw the Scarlets home.
“The boys were outstanding, starting with Phil John,” said Wilson.
“We definitely had a big foothold in that battle up front. I thought we had dominance at scrum, we had a try from a driving line-out, we were able to stop their drive relatively well and also carried very well; a number of forwards really gave us big carries and Sione was really prominent in that area. It was really pleasing.”
On Timani’s all-action display, Wilson added: “He has had a couple of little niggles this season, but tonight you saw the best of him and what he can do. He is a big physical presence.”
The Scarlets’ victory, which lifted them to sixth in the table, ended a run of six successive wins by the Ulstermen.
“We didn’t handle the wind very well in that first half. I thought our defence was superb, but poor discipline hurt us,” said Ulster coach Mark Anscombe.
“We gave a penalty that led to their try and another right at the end of the first half which meant instead of 8-3 it was 11-3. We didn’t build any momentum or put any phases together, we just didn’t have any possession and there were two yellow cards as well.
“Discipline has been a strength of ours. We gave away the least yellows last year and we have been tracking well this season and then all of sudden we have two in one game.
“At the breakdown we just lost our way and key players didn’t front up, the rest is history.
“The good players the Scarlets lost (to international duty) were all in the backs, they were able to keep the majority of their pack together and it has been a strength of theirs this year.
“They were too hot for us today. But we should have had a good enough pack to be better than we were.”